You can probably tell i can't sleep, which is why i am posting at almost 4am!
A Police Officer has to break bad news, take away peoples liberty and deal with dead bodies. These are just 3 of the things that we may not like to do, but do it because its what we signed up to do. Its our job, we are proud of our job, and we know that the public rely on us to do these unpleasant things. There are some things that Police Officers hate to do. We hate to do them primarily because we are highly trained professionals, and we are being asked to do certain tasks that take us off the street, and away from the public.
I am talking about Cell Watch, and Scene Watch. Cell Watch occurs when a prisoner in police custody is a risk to themselves for whatever reason. This could be due to violence, alcohol or self harm risk, to name 3 examples. A Police Officer sits outside the cell, watching the prisoner, until they stop being a risk, or until they leave the custody suite. Due to the risk averse society we live in, the custody sergeants will be unlikely to take a cell watch off until the person leaves custody. In some circumstances, you could have two police officers outside the cell. Cell watches could go on for 24 hours, and often mean that a police officer comes on duty, and spends their entire 8 or 12 hour shift sitting outside the cell.
Scene watch is where a police officer stands at the outer perimeter of a crime scene until investigations at that scene have concluded. This could go on for days, weeks, or months. Some scenes only need one police officer, some need 2, some need 10 police officers.
So whats my gripe? My gripe IS NOT that the police have a responsibility to their prisoners and must watch them. It IS NOT that the police have a responsibility to ensure evidence is secured before a scene is released. My gripe is the fact that sworn in police officers, who should be on the streets, find themselves in the station watching prisoners, when there is a cheaper alternative. The cheaper alternative is using the numerous civilian detention officers who are already employed in those same custody suites to do the cell watches.
So what about the scene watches? It may appear like a waste of police officers, but i actually think it should remain the domain of a police officer. We are there to stop the evidence from being disturbed. Who is most likely to disterb the evidence? the offender.